Foot pain isn’t always an easy symptom to understand. Many people who have been diagnosed with arthritis will assume that their foot pain is a result of that condition, but the truth is that foot pain can be caused by a variety of underlying issues. Given how common foot pain is, it’s important that everyone understands some of its typical causes.

Different types of foot pain are treated in different ways, so misunderstanding the reason for yours can make it more difficult to fix. Maybe your foot pain is caused by wearing the wrong shoes. Just switching to a pair of comfortable boots can make all the difference, and help you avoid more intrusive measures.

Top 5 Causes of Foot Pain

Considering the vast number of bones, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints in your foot, it’s no surprise that there are so many conditions that can cause foot pain. Here are some of the most common.

Physical Injuries

The most obvious cause of foot pain is an injury, typically happening when your ankle moves beyond its normal range of motion. Luckily, sprains should heal over time. You can, however, accelerate the process by employing the RICE technique: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This will help minimize your swelling and pain while improving your flexibility and healing time.

Fractures, on the other hand, are typically more serious and require medical attention to heal correctly. You might have to wear a cast around the affected area for up to six weeks to protect it through the healing process. More severe fractures can also be treated by physical therapy after the cast has been removed.

Shoe Troubles

Beyond specific injuries, it’s also common for foot pain to be the result of a simple problem like ill-fitting shoes or too much strenuous exercise. If your shoes are too tight, too loose, or don’t sufficiently cushion your foot, consider looking for new comfortable shoes that are designed to address foot pain.

Other Conditions Include:

Aside from injuries and physical trauma, there are also many other issues that could be the cause of your foot pain. These are a few of the most common:

  • Bunions:
    Bunions are painful bumps, typically found on the big toe but also sometimes appearing on the smallest one. They’re often caused by putting too much stress on your foot, which can happen if you wear overly snug shoes. Most bunions can be handled with painkillers or cushioning, but surgery is sometimes necessary.
  • Arthritis:
    Arthritis is a common condition involving joint inflammation. Many people with arthritic pain in their feet will also have problems in other joints. If you’re experiencing joint pain without an obvious explanation, contact your doctor. An X-ray can show signs of arthritis.
  • Heel Spurs:
    Most commonly the result of stretching the plantar fascia, heel spurs happen when your body creates excess bone in your heel. Unfortunately, this can be painful. Some common treatments for heel spurs are anti-inflammatories, rest, and steroids, with surgery available as an option if less invasive measures aren’t successful.

Also, read about: Athlete’s Foot Meaning.

Preventive Treatment

While it’s true that most cases of foot pain can be helped using various treatments, it’s always better to avoid the problem in the first place whenever possible. To minimize your risk of developing foot pain, you should invest in well-fitting, supportive shoes. If strenuous exercise is causing pain, either adopt a less intense routine or give yourself more rest days.

You should seek medical attention for your foot pain if it suddenly becomes more intense, or if you’re unable to put weight on the affected foot. These signs may be indicative of more serious problems. Your doctor will be able to identify the cause of the pain and recommend the best treatment method.


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About the Author

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing

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